Bat-House Field Excursion: Honours Certificate Students
The third excursion for the students in the Honours Certificate in Environmental Humanities and Sciences (EHS) included a forest walk, a visit to a multi-species home in a rewilded garden, and close encounters with bats.
There are 12 known species of bats in Norway, and they are all protected.
On April the 30th, the students of the Honours Certificate programme took the bus out to of the Oslo city centre to Nittedal to meet biologist Jeroen van der Kooij in his multispecies home. A central theme of the day were how we can accommodate for greater biological diversity in our surroundings and take care of local species.
Together the students arrived Jeroen van der Kooij’s home after a walk through the forest. As a biologist, van der Kooij has taken great care in crafting a welcoming home, not only for him and his family, but also a variety of different species. The students were given a tour of his home, and a presentation of different measures taken to promoting biological diversity and providing ecological niches suited for local endangered species.
On the main house there are nooks for different birds, and rooms in the outer walls of the house that are specifically catered to bats, but where also wasps, bees and birds have found a home. In the garden, special care is taken to not introduce species that pose an ecological threat to the local ecosystems, and the two ponds in the corner of the garden house frogs, newts, plants, and many insects such as pond skaters. In total Jeroen has counted over 300 different species on his property, spanning plants, birds, insects and more.
Bats have a special place both in Jeroen van der Kooij’s heart and his home. Beyond a house with cavities for bats, and different bat-houses in the surrounding forest, Jeroen also runs a bat-hospital where he nurses bats back to health. On this day, the students got to meet the three bats currently living in Jeroen’s bat-houses, one northern bat and two long eared bats.
Living this close to baths on a day-to-day basis means that Jeroen has a unique opportunity to observe bats over time and in different contexts, giving him more intimate knowledge of these creatures than many other bat researchers. His work inspires reflection on the value of research in biology beyond the confinements of a lab or periods of field work. There is much to learn from being conscious of, and open for, the multispecies entanglements in our surroundings.